Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Merry Christmas Moments

Don’t worry, we are still alive.  We have just been so busy that I have not had a chance to sit down and think about writing.  Currently we are docked at Paradise Village Marina, almost exactly where we were a month ago when our guests came for Christmas.  Our stop in Banderas Bay was originally supposed to be for four days and here we are past the one month mark. Some cruisers call this area the black hole and now we understand why.  Still, if you have to be stuck somewhere a beautiful Mexican bay teaming with whales, surrounded by lush tropical mountains is not a bad option.

So, why are we still here?  First, after the rush down the Baja coast, it was a desire to relax and then by the time we were ready to move again the wind was coming out of the south.  So, since we have no strong desire to battle our way through headwinds we started working on some more major boat projects.  Puerto Vallarta is, according to many of the cruisers we have met, really the last stop on the way south to get quality boat parts and services.  When we bought Moments nine months ago we knew that we would need to get new bottom paint; there were some repairs to the hull that were looking bad and the paint was running thin.  When the paint is thin it becomes a big job keeping the barnacles at bay because it is the toxic metals in the paint that scares those suckers off.   We had been anchored for a while in La Cruz and when Adam finally dove the bottom with a paint scraper I don’t think you could actually see through the reef that had formed on our hull.  We have scraped the bottom a few times but it is a big job when you don’t have scuba equipment and the boat is rolling in the waves at anchor.  We finally decided that it was time to haul out.

After about two weeks of haggling on prices and searching what seemed like the entire country for the right kind of paint, last Thursday we hauled out at Opequimar Boat Yard in Puerto Vallarta.  We were a little nervous going into it, especially since most of the business down here is for power boats which are often lifted differently, painted differently, etc.  In addition, as you know, our budget it TIGHT.  However, I have to say that the whole process was flawless.   We were lifted at 9AM on Thursday, Arturo (our wonderful painter) and his crew got right to work sanding the hull, they painted the next day and we were back in the water at noon on Saturday.  They even repaired all of the blisters (correctly I might add) and greased the prop for what we considered to be a deal of a price.  Arturo is the third generation from his family to work on boats and he is getting ready to retire and hand the business over to his sons.  They work long days, every day, all year long; no time for weekends or holidays.  In addition, Arturo handles most of the sailboats in the yard so we could, very slightly, relax and feel like our home was in good hands.  In the end we actually paid less than we thought we were going to pay and we didn’t get any surprises.  Moments is just as strong and safe and we thought she was.

While Arturo and his crew were working on the outside, Adam and I were hard at work on the inside of the boat.  We replaced some of the seacocks, which let water in and out of the boat, and most importantly replaced the steering cables which had been improperly installed before and were showing some wear.  We also go to live on the boat at Opequimar, a rare thing for boat yards, so we could do some of the work at night when the sun was down, shower regularly and save the money on a hotel room.  Now we are back in Paradise Village, the only marina in the bay with potable water, to fill up our tanks and, finally, provision to head south.  If only the weather will hold…